Greta Thunberg’s Speech Will Be Iconic

By S. (September 25, 2019)

I’ve always wondered how speeches become iconic and why some speeches are remembered. Would I recognize a famous speech when I first heard it? Did those people who first heard “ask not what your country can do for you” or “I have dream” understand the historic import?

I remember “Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall”. It felt like empty political posturing.

George HW Bush’s “read my lips” speech is remembered ironically.

I don’t remember anything from Clinton or Bush Jr.

I’m also surprised that I can’t remember any of Obama’s speeches. Perhaps that is because Obama’s rhetorical skills were undermined by his staunch defense of untenable status quos.

I think Ms. Thunberg’s speech is going to make history not just because she had a great platform with this event, but because she eloquently and passionately said what so many of us were thinking. It’s a pure message, unencumbered by real politik or compromises. She truly spoke truth to power (it’s regrettable how much that phrase has been over used) and I think we should echo her words far and wide.

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